Always Moving Forward: Exclusive Interview with Dean Guida

Jessica Skarzynski / Wednesday, December 17, 2014

We recently sat down with Infragistics Founder and CEO, Dean Guida, to take a look back at 2014 and to chat about what’s on the horizon for 2015. Read on to learn more!

2014 was a memorable year – what are some of your highlights?

It certainly was! It’s so hard to choose just a few highlights – but we broke our sales records, which is fantastic. More importantly, our customer renewal rate is at an all-time high. That’s a huge success. We’ve also taken on new enterprise customers as well and continue to grow there.

We also made our mark in the enterprise this year too. Apple recognized ReportPlus as 1 of 9 BI Mobile vendors that they promote on their website, along with our SharePlus for a native SharePoint experience. One of our partners used the extensibility features of SharePlus to create mobile clinical trials solutions for some of the largest pharma companies out there.

Infragistics turned 25 this year! How does that make you feel?

I feel very proud that we have created a company to last that is a global software company with millions of customers, funded by customers. We never took outside investment, and because of that, we’re focused on delivering customer value day in and day out. That no-surrender attitude to get to the next level and bust through the next obstacle is what drives everyone here.

I am also thrilled that we’ve created a place for like-minded people that help each other get things done and love to build great software through a collaborative, design-focused, and engineering approach. As a company, we’ve been tested many times: from technology change to recessions and beyond, but each time we’ve been able to adapt and strengthen our fabric as an organization to succeed and last, because we have the financial discipline, technology understanding, solid team and loyal customers.

What are some of the best things that 2014 has brought your customers?

All around, we’ve seen a lot of improvements in our products that make a positive impact on user experience. In Indigo Studio [our rapid prototyping tool], we’ve added the additional capability to design responsive apps, and the new screenparts feature enables developers to reuse parts of their designs across screens and projects.

In the UI realm, we added spreadsheet, diagramming and Microsoft Word-inspired components to the different platforms so developers can create office inspired applications that their users can adopt easily. And in our jQuery/HTML UI tool, we now have a 100% pure JavaScript Excel library that makes it possible for developers to edit and produce Excel spreadsheets in the browser, along with our new HTML5 modern Web page designer that empowers the drag and drop building of web apps.

Overall, I’m most humbled by the sheer size of the world we are impacting in both our developer tools and our mobile enterprise apps - each division has more than 1 million customers, and they’re growing every day!

That’s great. 2014 saw a lot of improvements in the developer tools space. What can customers expect in 2015?

Even more improvement! We’re focusing on cross-platform components, more native & hybrid components, and tooling for drag & drop web app creation. We’re adding more team capabilities in our interactive prototyping tool, Indigo Studio. And our developer and enterprise partners will be able to extend our Mobile Enterprise Apps through the built in API and extension points to create custom SharePoint content solutions and data visualization dashboards for their own apps, or deployment in the enterprise.

Infragistics is focusing on the enterprise a lot lately. What’s on the horizon for 2015?

By really focusing on user-center design and rapid interactive prototyping tools, we want to help the enterprise improve the communication between what the users need and what the development teams build. It’s our goal to improve the productivity of developers though components & tooling so v1 apps can be amazing experiences.

While the improvements in your developer tools have been so solid, does that naturally translate to your work in Enterprise Development?

Definitely, and we’re prepared to do that. When taking care of the enterprise you need global support teams, high quality in the product and a commitment to support older builds. Whether they're building in London, Bangalore, or even up on Wall Street, you need to have global teams to support that, which we do. We’ve also got the high-quality products and the commitment to support older builds so that we’re not forcing enterprises to the latest and greatest because they have to support their business and current production environments.

And from a design and UI perspective, we’re there to help those enterprise users understand the benefits of a user-centered design process, and how the tooling for design and prototyping and the software all combine together to help them build those amazing Web, desktop, and mobile experiences for both native and hybrid.

So you’ve said that Great Apps Happen by Design. What does that mean?

It really means that design is key to a great experience. You need to explore prototypes with interactions that allow your users and product teams to see and feel the application before it’s built. Then though iteration and collaboration with those stakeholders and your product teams, you’re able to build a v3 experience in your v1 app.

That approach really facilitates communication and collaboration. It's one thing to write requirement documents or have conversations in meetings about how something should be built or interact. It's another thing to see it, play with it, iterate on it, and keep people communicating and collaborating, which is really critical.

Where do you see Infragistics in 5 years?

Helping 3 million plus developers & designers –building great app experiences that delight everyone that uses them. And in our Enterprise Solutions business, we want to be a trusted and popular brand for customers & partners that drive productivity through mobile apps that are extensible for data visualization & collaboration on mobile devices. 

Ultimately my dream is to see Infragistics as a big global brand in technology; one of the top brands that people want to come work for and customers want to partner with to build amazing experiences and value for their business. And as we move into 2015, we’re poised to do just that!